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Apr 17, 2010

Fabric Shopping with Amazing Grace


One of the treats of blogging is getting to meet your readers in person.  Yesterday I had the privilege of spending time with the brilliant Grace P.  You may know Grace from her engrossing blog, Bad Mom, Good Mom, or from Pattern Review, where she's known as gsp1066.  (Really rolls off the tongue, doesn't it?)  

Grace was visiting New York City with her husband and nine-year-old daughter, and shot me an email earlier in the week asking if I'd show her some fabric stores and maybe visit the FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) museum with her.   Ever-ready for any distraction from the sewing/blogging vortex that is my life, I enthusiastically made plans to meet up with Grace in the Garment District.

Now I'd never met Grace before but right away I recognized her skirt -- Grace's entry in last winter's PR re-fashion contest -- so I assumed the woman wearing it must be Grace.  I guessed right!

Being the vicarious fabric shopper/enabler I am, I suggested we begin our adventures at my favorite fabric-store-not-to-buy-anything-in, Metro Textiles.  Unfortunately, Kashi was having the ceiling painted so half of one wall was covered in plastic, but this was no obstacle to Grace.

Now, loyal readers, you know I've been group shopping on a Pattern Review excursion with eight women, and more recently with the no-bolt-left-unturned Bloggettes.  But believe me when I say that they are rank amateurs compared to amazing Grace!

This was my most thrilling vicarious shopping trip EVER.  Grace is decisive.  She knows what she wants and she gets it -- or rather, she makes Kashi get it for her.  Poor Kashi (no kid, let's face it) nearly threw his back out reaching for the countless giant, half-buried, out-of-reach bolts Grace requested.  By the time we left, the man looked ten years older and was eerily spinning in place and mumbling gibberish.

Luckily he didn't use these shears on Grace -- or me, who of course bought nothing.

Now I am not going to tell you exactly how much fabric Grace bought or what she spent -- not because I wouldn't like to, mind you, but rather because her husband isn't supposed to know.  But rest assured it was more than I spent on fabric in all of 2009.  Then again, spending less than I spent on fabric in 2009 wouldn't buy dinner for two at the Olive Garden, so I'm not a good measure.  I'll say this: she bought enough fabric -- at excellent prices, of course -- that she had to have it sent (Grace lives in L.A.). 

Pretty fancy, that Grace!

Our next stop was the FIT museum, where we caught a wonderful exhibit, "Night & Day," ogled some fantastic vintage Chanel suits, and kept setting off the alarm by leaning over too close to the mannequins.  (It's not like we were picking off sequins or anything.)  Grace finally was asked to leave the gallery -- no joke -- but only because her cell phone kept going off (she was giving husband directions to the museum).

We noted, judging from some of the Eighteenth Century clothes featured in the exhibit, that people used to be very, very short and had teeny, tiny waists.  Or maybe it was just the rich.  Unfortunately photography is prohibited so you'll just have to take my word for it.

We then met up with Grace's husband and daughter and had a delightful lunch at Brgr (that's right, no vowels).   And readers, they treated me -- yet another blogging perk one can easily get used to.  So if you're ever in town do drop me a line.  I can't make any promises but I do need to eat.

So anyway, I didn't sew at all yesterday because I had to wait for my Thursday poll to close to figure out WHAT to sew.  As of late Thursday afternoon, it looks like I'm heading into a very purple week.

A few updates:

Yesterday, one of Michael's students, dancer Amy, tried on my 1941 daffodil-yellow dress and it fit beautifully.  Please don't share this with Cathy, but I think this dress was designed for a woman like Amy, who looks fantastic in it sans hat, stole, or Retro Red lipstick.  

Some of you may remember this fabric from the Western shirt I sewed last summer and which the (so-called) Selfish Seamstress featured in her piece about me last January.  I was her very first nemesis!

I'd bought it for $2 a yard at one of my fabric dives and the same fabric was for sale at Metro.  Kashi says it's a Pendleton wool!  I knew it was too scratchy to be cotton!

Also, is it me, or has The Sartorialist changed his ways?

Suddenly I see context -- more background on the subjects and more insight into what the photographer sees in them.  Could anything I might have said or done effected such change -- my threat to end our relationship perhaps?  I guess we'll never know.

And finally...

LOOK who's in the New York Times!  (The photo was part of Cathy's makeover of me.)

Loyal followers and lurkers, that's all the latest news from my little corner of the sweatshop.

Have a great Saturday, everybody!


  1. I'm dying to know, Peter - are you a writer by trade? Your blog posts are FANTASTIC!

  2. Need I reiterate that I envy you your sheer amount of choice when it comes to fabric shopping places? I've recently learned of one more, but from what I can see, they're definitely out of my price range! I also envy your ability to find great fabric that's been thrown out....

    Especially as I'm digging into my stash for fabric to make the My-Aunt-Laura-Loves-Me-Bunches spring/summer collection for Evie....

  3. Peter - I love your picture in the New York Times - I guess you're a celeb now! Congrats! I love reading your blog and can't wait to find out how much more you can make! P.
    P.S. I'm from a family of two Peters and two Pams. . .

  4. Wow, love the times picture! Hurrah for pattern mixing!

  5. It would have been even more fantastic if the NYT had published that you made the fabulous print items you were mixing there.

    If I ever get a chance to visit NY, you can bet I'm calling you and sure, I'll take you to lunch!

  6. Great Times photo! I thought about entering a photo, but mine would have been nowhere near as great as yours. It's too bad that they don't have a litle blurb telling everyone that you made the clothes yourself.

  7. You are GORGEOUS, Peter. Something about the NYT photo reminds me of Stanley Tucci (one of my secret movie boyfriends).

  8. Congratulations on being in the NY Times. Wow what a shopping trip - fabric shopping in LA is great, but NY has the 'allure' of the true sewing fashionista shop-a-holic!

  9. Congrats on the NYT.

    I think it's you, not The Sartorialist, that changed. I never stopped looking & I never noticed a change. Of course, I was always happy enough just to look at the photos. You must have just missed his blog. :-)


  10. Thanks, guys!

    KayY, I'm often available for dinner too -- I'll choose a place and don't forget your VISA card.

  11. I'm completely exhausted from your NYC explorations with Grace, awed by your skill at thrift, and bedazzled by your Times ensemble.

    And a little worried about how much I count on you for my morning chortle-fest. Could be that a monstrous addiction is brewing here.

  12. Your blog is amazing, I have only been sewing a year also. But your clothes are quite brilliant compared to mine. By the way happy birthday and you defo dont look 48, I am a year younger. Just wanted to let you know that you make me smile...

  13. I LOVE the NYT picture. I just wanted you to know, I don't have a lot of time to leave comments, barely time to read your stuff (one year old twins), but I look forward to you everyday! I found you on PR sometime ago when I was pregnant and just kept looking for you and reading your stuff. I haven't had much time to sew this past year but I look forward to getting into it again. In the mean time I will continue to keep up with you and be jealous of all the time you have to sew! Thanks Peter! A loyal reader from Austin, Texas

  14. The NYT pic: very stylish with a "je ne sais quoi" attitude. Felicitations, mon cher!

  15. Very nice NYT pix.

    It was good to meet you in person. You are so productive, I almost forgot that you are still a newbie to sewing. Your enthusiasm is infectious. Don't ever lose that 'amateur spirit', that fearlessness!

    BTW, I had the fabric shipped b/c I was taking the subway to JFK and didn't want to schlep it down the subway stairs. DH doesn't really care how much I spend on fabric, as long as it matches what he spends on his hobbies. I had been falling behind, and he kept asking me what I wanted to buy in NYC. Kashi and Peter to the rescue!

    If you were a parent, you'd learn to shop fast, too. I had a deadline. My family was headed over to join us for lunch and I know better than to make a hungry and cranky kid wait.

    RE the Pendleton. Why didn't you take me to shop at the other store where you found the Pendleton for $2/yd? It reminds me of the time I found Liberty of London Tana Lawn (like butter!) at $2/yd in LA.
    I turned it into a robe
    and a nightgown for my daughter.


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